During an interview with Newsmax TV, Wisconsin governor and Republican presidential hopeful Scott Walker said he "wouldn't change" the military's current ban on transgender service members. Defense Secretary Ash Carter confirmed last month that the Pentagon was at last ready to consider changing regulations to allow trans members of the military to serve openly.
Asked by former congressman turned Internet video host J.D. Hayworth whether he would follow fellow candidate Jeb Bush's lead on the topic, Walker struck a decidedly different tone. Bush told Yahoo News last month that he was "fine" with trans service members serving openly as long as it didn't compromise morale.
Mike Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor and fellow presidential candidate, appeared on the same show in a previous episode and used the same offensive language as in the first GOP debate, that the military is "not designed to be a social club" and pledged to restore the ban on gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members as well.
"The military is designed to kill people and break things," said Huckabee. "The purpose of the military is to train a fighting force to defend this country and to fight our battles. It’s not to fight the battles of sexual identity or orientation. It’s to fight the battles that threaten American sovereignty and American freedom."
While Walker bluntly stated he wouldn't support lifting the ban, he also tried to dodge the question by circling back to an attack on Hillary Clinton and President Obama.
"I think at a time when we just came off the week when four Marines and a petty officer in the Navy were ambushed and killed at a recruiting center, where we see the current administration under the Obama-Clinton doctrine not lifting the political restrictions on our men and women in uniform in Iraq, when we see the challenges we face around the world, I think those of us who are talking about running for president need to focus on what we need to do to rebuild the military," Walker said on the program.
Watch the interview in the video below.